Updated: Nov 9, 2020
We’re coming to the end of January 2019! It’s amazing how time flies! This last weekend I took a short road trip up through Montana to visit my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents. I had been planning this trip for a week or so when I realized all weather reports said the roads would be terrible the entire trip! Not able to re-schedule with school about to start I decided to take it one day of the trip at a time and stay longer if necessary. Now that I’m safely home again, I’ve been thinking about all the preparation my parents instilled in me from a young age when we were planning to travel in winter that has kept me safe for so long…
1. Wear/Pack Layers
ALWAYS bring your winter coat, hat, gloves, and snow boots no matter how sunny or dry your winter has been. Out here the weather can change in a heartbeat leaving you stranded in life and death conditions! I haven’t needed my snow boots around my town this winter but they sure came in hand in Montana where they’ve been getting plenty of snow this winter!
2. Know the Weather and Road Reports
Before taking this trip I was checking the weather and road reports daily and then hourly when it came to the day of my trip. Thankfully the snowstorms that would have made my trip more dangerous moved further away from my route than initially expected. I ended up having fantastic roads for the entire trip! Even then it’s important to look out for black ice and unexpected hazards in the road. Several trucks had chunks of ice and rock falling from their wheel wells or mud flaps sometimes leaving a dangerous obstacle in the road.
3. Have a Plan B-Z…
After you know the reports, ask yourself, “Is it still necessary for me to travel right now?” “Can the trip be moved?” If the answer to either of those questions is yes then change your plans. It is no guarantee that the weather will accommodate you if you choose to go anyway. If you have to go, then have a backup plan in case you need to stay put in another town for a while before the roads open up again or you feel safe to travel. Make sure your work knows that you’re out of town and may need a cushion day or two if the weather prevents you from coming home (better yet plan your trip to line up with a weekend). This may also mean bringing extra blankets, water, and food in case your car breaks down on the side of the road far from town and help. It’s also a very good idea to have a first aid kit handy and know how to use it!
No, I don’t mean to your hotel 🙂 although that is important too! What I mean is…have a check-in buddy. If you don’t have family or a roommate who will be worried if you don’t show up on time find a friend. Check-in with them on a regular basis letting them know what your weather and road conditions look like. Let them know when you’re leaving home, when you arrive at your destination, and when you’re leaving for home again. Even let them know when you stop to get gas or food! A family was traveling around Thanksgiving last year, checked in with their Grandma that they would arrive at her home in a few hours but never made it. Because they’d been checking in, their Grandma could call for help much sooner than if she didn’t know what time they should arrive or how their trip had been going so far. You never know when obeying this tip is going to save your life!
5. Put on Some Epic Tunes
You’re on a road trip! Remember to relax and take in the adventures that come along the way. Maybe you’re just jamming to some great music for a few hours or your listening to a really thrilling audiobook 🙂 Whatever you do, find your way to stay awake and alert on those winter roads!
Have you started 2019 out with any amazing trips? What are your tips for traveling in winter?
Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!